Cason Displays Renewed “Passion” For His Craft On His New LP

Courtesy: Arena Records

Late this Past February, veteran musician Buzz Cason released his latest album Passion.  Cason’s 13th overall recording, Passion is a fittingly titled record. That is because it presents a passion that seemed somewhat missing from his previous records.  From start to finish, this 11-song record displays so much passion from Cason and his fellow musicians.  That is presented both in the songs’ musical arrangements and their lyrical content, beginning with the album’s opener and title track. It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Escape,’ which comes later in the record’s sequencing, is another example of the passion and drive that is evident throughout the record.  It will be discussed later.  The same can be said of the bluegrass-tinged ‘The Ballad of Berry Hill.’  It is just one more example of the passion that overflows from this record.  The other eight songs not noted here each present just as much passion as these works.  All things considered, the eleven songs that make up the body of this record show clearly why “passion” was the proper choice for this record and why that same passion exhibited throughout the record makes it one of this year’s top new records in the wide field of country/folk/bluegrass/Americana.

Buzz Cason’s latest full-length studio recording Passion is a fittingly titled record.  That is because it is a work that presents a man working hard to show he has not lost his passion for his craft even four decades after the release of his debut self-titled album.  The album’s opener and title track is clear proof of Cason’s renewed energy and…well…passion.  That is evident first in the song’s southern-rock-tinged arrangement, which hints (at least to this critic) at a Grateful Dead influence.  The song’s arrangement is a solid mid-tempo piece centered on Cason’s work on guitar and drummer Jim Thistle’s time keeping.  Wanda Vick’s work on the fiddle adds another nice touch to the arrangement, deepening even more that southern rock feel along with bassist Bryan Grassmeyer.

While the energy in the song’s arrangement does plenty to exhibit the already noted passion from Cason and company, it is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content plays its own important part in the song’s passion, too.  That is because of the message that said content presents.  The message is one of focusing on what’s important in life.  That message is inferred as Cason sings in the song’s chorus, “There’s things in life that I can live without/Without these things I’m passionate about/Passion.”  It is a short statement, but says so much especially when considered along with Cason’s statements in the verses about not caring about living without material things.  The song’s lead verse supports that statement as Cason sings, “Take away my secrets/Take away my song/Take away my torn jeans that I’ve/Worn so long/Take away my shotgun and my/Chevy Malibu/You can burn those letters from a girl that/I once knew/Nevermind what I used to say/Right now you can take ‘em away/Take ‘em away.” The song’s second verse is very similar in terms of Cason’s statement of comfort with self as is the song’s third verse.  Keeping this in mind, it becomes clear that that the song’s message is one of being focused on just having passion in life, and that one’s own mindset, not material things, is what brings passion. When this is considered alongside the song’s musical arrangement, that statement develops new meaning and makes this song stand out even more to show why Passion is such an impressive new effort from Cason.  It is just one of the songs that serves to show why Cason’s latest full-length effort is so impressive.  ‘Escape’ shows in its own way, too what makes the record stand out.

Passion’s title track (and its lead composition), is in itself a clear example of the passion that has clearly been re-ignited inside Buzz Cason in this record.  It is just one of the examples of that renewed passion.  ‘Escape’ is another song that serves to support those statements.  As with ‘Passion,’ that is exhibited in part through the song’s arrangement.  This song’s arrangement boasts a solid pop-rock arrangement that would be a fit on any adult contemporary radio station’s lineup.  The song’s arrangement is expertly complimented by the song’s equally upbeat, optimistic lyrical content.  Cason sings here, “I won’t let them hold me down/You can bet I’ll stand my ground/Nobody can shatter my dreams/Somehow we’ll be breaking’ out/From the past/There is no doubt/I’m a man whose bustin’ at the seams.  This is a proud confidence that is echoed in the song’s chorus as he sings, “I may not be Houdini/But watch me as I make my escape/I don’t believe that good things only come to those who are willing to wait/Freedom ain’t no mystery/Girl, if you are riding with me/And we may not escape/So come on, baby, don’t be shy/Jump inside and take a ride/We can leave this one-horse town behind.”  Cason goes on in similar style throughout the remainder of the song.  When that positive mindset is coupled with the song’s upbeat musical arrangement, they make the overall composition an infectious work that is easily one of the record’s best works.  It also shows once more the passion that is evident throughout the album, yet is still not the last of the record’s works that displays that passion.  The bluegrass-tinged ‘The Ballad of Berry Hill’ is one more example of the passion that runs throughout the album.

‘Passion’ and ‘Escape’ are both solid examples of Buzz Cason’s renewed passion in his latest full-length effort.  That is thanks to the songs’ musical arrangements and their lyrical content.  While both songs exemplify in their own way that energy and passion presented throughout this record, they are not the only songs that do so.  ‘The Ballad of Berry Hill’ exhibits just as much of that passion and energy as the previously discussed songs.  As with those songs, the song’s musical arrangement is a good starting point in its examination.  The song’s bluegrass-tinged arrangement stands out against the previously noted arrangements and those of the album’s other featured songs, showing how Cason’s renewed passion has also led to great musical diversity in this record.  Audiences will be interested to learn that this song is actually historical.  It tells the story of how Cason came to build his family’s studio, Creative Workshop, at Berry Hill in Nashville, TN.  The fondness with which Cason tells the story once more shows how much fire and, again, passion is still there.  The same can be said in examining the energy in the song’s musical arrangement.  When both elements are joined together, they make the song, which comes late in the album’s sequencing, yet another example of Cason’s renewed passion for his craft.  It also serves once more to show why that passion has led this album to be one of the year’s best in the wide open field of country/folk/bluegrass/Americana.

All three of the songs noted here show in their own respective way the passion that veteran musician Buzz Cason still has for his craft.  Between the songs’ musical arrangements and their lyrical content, each song impresses in its own right, showing how that passion has created a record that is an elite work.  The other songs featured in this record not noted here can be used just as easily as to show what makes the record so enjoyable.  All things considered, the musical arrangements and lyrical themes presented in each of this album’s songs make the album Cason’s best work to date and one of the best new efforts in this year’s country/folk/bluegrass/Americana field.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Passion is available now along with all of Cason’s latest news and more at:










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Killcode Unveils ‘Kickin’ And Screamin” Video

Killcode is giving its fans another taste of its latest album.

The New York-based rock outfit released the video for its new single ‘Kickin’ and Screamin’ today.  The video, taken from the band’s upcoming sophomore full-length album The Answer, sets the new single against footage of the band’s performances on the “Spread The Code 2016” and debuted online via Revolver Magazine’s website.

The band released a collective statement, describing the song as “a real deal, classic, straight ahead rock and roll song.”

“It’s the type of rock that we grew up on that makes you want to drive a little faster, scream a little louder, and party a little harder with your fists in the air,” the band’s members said of the song.

Courtesy: High Road Publicity

‘Kickin’ and Screamin’ is available for download and purchase now via Killcode’s website and its Reverb Nation site.  Advanced limited edition copies of The Answer can be purchased online now here.

In anticipation of The Answer’s upcoming release, the band will hit the road next month beginning April 14 in Poughkeepsie, NY.  The tour runs through November 9 and includes a handful of European dates through the summer, too.  The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

Catch KILLCODE Live:

04/14 @ The Chance Theatre – Poughkeepsie, NY
04/22 @ Mulcahys (w/ LA Guns) – Wantagh, NY
07/02 @ ROCK FEST BARCELONA 2017 – Barcelona, ES
07/13 @ Bang Your Head Festival – Balingen, HH, Germany
08/17 @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (w/Queensrÿche) – Englewood, NJ
08/26 @ Hull City Hall – Hull, UK
09/02 @ Switzerland-Riverside Aarburg Open Air Arena Festival – Aarburg, CH
11/09 @ Hard Rock Hell Festival UK – Wales, UK

More information on The Answer, ‘Kickin’ and Screamin’ and all of the band’s latest news is available online now at:










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Royal Blood Returns To The Studio To Work On Sophomore Album

Royal Blood gave fans their first taste of its new album Monday.

The British duo unveiled a new teaser video showing the pair—Michael Kerr (bass/vocals) and Ben Thatcher (drums)—in the studio working on its new album.  Audiences can see the teaser video online now via the band’s official YouTube Channel.

Courtesy: BBGun Press


The video features footage of Kerr and Thatcher at work as they record songs for the record.  It also features footage of the guitar and drum setups used in the album’s recording as well as other little additions.

While audiences wait for the first full taste of Royal Blood’s album online, they will get to hear some of the act’s new songs this summer at Lollapalooza.  The festival will be held Aug. 3 – 6 at Grant Park in Chicago, IL.  Other currently scheduled dates are listed online via the band’s official website.

More information on those dates is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:










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Eyes Set To Kill Releases New Single; Announces New Live Dates, Lineup

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Things have picked up quite a bit lately for hard rock outfit Eyes Set To Kill.

Eyes Set To Kill returned this week with a new single, a new tour announcement and a new lineup.  The band released ‘Break,’ the lead single from its next album, this week. The album is still untitled at this time.  ‘Break’ is streaming online now via Spotify and iTunes.

Courtesy: Century Media Records

The release of a new single is just some of the big news coming from the band this week.  Along with the release of its latest song, the band has also announced its new lineup and its addition to the Break Into Action tour.

The tour, which launches April 18 in Chapel Hill, NC also features the Nearly Deads and Bad Seed Rising on its lineup, and runs through May 25 in Nashville, TN.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

EYES SET TO KILL – Upcoming Tour Dates

Friday, April 14th – Albuquerque, NM @ The Co-Op
Saturday, April 15th – Lubbock, TX @ Jake’s
Sunday, April 16th – Houston, TX @ Walter’s

The “Break Into Action” Tour w/Bad Seed Rising & The Nearly Deads

Tuesday, April 18th – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
Wednesday, April 19th – Richmond, VA @ Canal Club
Thursday, April 20th – New York, NY @ Webster Hall (Studio)
Friday, April 21st – Buffalo, NY @ The Waiting Room (Studio)
Sunday, April 23rd – Toledo, OH @ Frankie’s
Tuesday, April 25th – Berwyn, IL @ The Wire
Wednesday, April 26th – Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar
Thursday, April 27th – Valparaiso, IN @ Big Shots
Friday, April 28th – Indianapolis, IN @ Emerson Theater
Saturday, April 29th – Grand Rapids, MI @ Pope’s Pub
Sunday, April 30th – Merriam, KS @ Aftershock
Tuesday, May 2nd – Colorado Springs, CO @ Sunshine Studios
Wednesday, May 3rd – Salt Lake City, UT @ Loading Dock
Thursday, May 4th – Reno, NV @ Jub Jub’s
Saturday, May 6th – Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge
Sunday, May 7th – Fullerton, CA @ Slidebar Cafe
Monday, May 8th – West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
Tuesday, May 9th – Phoenix, AZ @ Club Red
Thursday, May 11th Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street Collective
Saturday, May 13th – Newport, KY @ Thompson House
Sunday, May 14th – Pittsburgh, PA @ Diesel
Tuesday, May 16th – Cleveland, OH @ The Agora Ballroom
Thursday, May 18th – Lowell, MA @ Mill City Ballroom
Friday, May 19th – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
Saturday, May 20th – Williamsport, PA @ Ground Floor 2.0*
Sunday, May 21st – Trenton, NJ @ The Backstage*
Thursday, May 25th – Nashville, TN @ Rocketown*

The band’s new lineup announcement includes the addition of Tiaday Ball (The World Over) as its new bassist and touring guitarist A.J. Bartholomew as an official member.  More information on ‘Break,’ ESTK’s new album, tour, latest news and more is available online now at:









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Art Of Anarchy Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Art of Anarchy has announced new live dates in support of its new album The Madness.

The band announced this week it will embark on a short string of live dates next month beginning April 3 in Amityville, N.Y. The nearly month-long schedule takes the band to the Midwest and into the Southwest and also into Canada, eventually winding down April 29 in Henderson, NV.  The band’s current live schedule is noted below.

Art of Anarchy Tour Dates:

4/3/17 – Amityville, N.Y. – Revolution Bar & Music Hall
4/4/17 – Asbury Park, N.J. – The Stone Pony
4/6/17 – Toronto, Ontario – Velvet Underground
4/7/17 – Sarnia, Ontario – Station Music Hall
4/8/17 – Battle Creek, Mich. – The Music Factory
4/10/17 – Libertyville, Ill. – Austin’s Saloon
4/11/17 – Chesterfield, Mich. – Diesel Concert Lounge
4/13/17 – Fort Wayne, Ind. – The Rusty Spur
4/14/17 – Ringle, Wisc. – Q&Z Expo Center
4/29/17 – Henderson, Nev. – M Resort

Composed of Scott Stapp (ex-Creed) on vocals, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex Guns ‘N Roses) on guitar, John Moyer (ex-Disturbed) on bass and twin brothers Jon and Vince Votta on guitar and drums respectively, the band originally formed through an 18-year friendship between Thal and the Votta brothers.

Jon Votta first approached Thal with the idea to form the band years ago.  That discussion eventually led to the band’s creation, which originally saw the late Scott Weiland (ex-Stone Temple Pilots) handle vocal duties. The band’s debut self-titled album was released in June 2015.

Stapp said in a recent interview that he was optimistic about working with the members of Art of Anarchy.

“I’m excited to be a part of Art of Anarchy,” Stapp said.  “I appreciate collaborating with other talented artists and I can’t wait to share our new music with the fans very soon.”

Band manager John Gomez shared Stapp’s optimism.

“The other members of AOA and I are equally excited to have Stapp on board,” Gomez said.  “This is the first band that Scott has fronted outside of Creed and his heart’s really in it.  Scott’s vision, his gift for gut-wrenching storytelling and his powerful vocals lend a bold new energy to the group.”

Thal thought bringing Stapp on to take Weiland’s place has been a boon for the band, adding he thought Stapp’s addition to the band helped take the band in a new direction.

“Scott’s style and the personal lyrics he’s been writing are taking the sound in a new direction – one that brings out the best in all of us,” Thal said.  “It’s a new chapter for us all, and I’m looking forward to sharing the new music with the fans and seeing what the future holds.”

Vince Votta agreed.

“It’s been awesome having Stapp on board,” Votta said.  “Everyone is bringing their A-game and can’t wait to bring it live to the stage.”

Audiences that haven’t heard that new sound can hear The Madness’ latest single, its title track online now via the band’s official YouTube channel.  More information on The Madness is available online now along with all of Art of Anarchy’s latest news and more at:









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Flobots Announces ‘NOENEMIES’ Release Date

Courtesy: LiveLoud

Flobots has announced the release date for its upcoming album NOENEMIES.

The band’s fourth album, NOENEMIES will be released Friday, May 5, 2017.  The Kickstarter-funded record can be pre-ordered now online via the band’s official website.  The record’s debut single, ‘Carousel’ will be released April 7 on digital platforms everywhere.

In anticipation of NOENEMIES’ upcoming release, the band recently announced a series of live dates with dance troupe Wonderbound dubbed “Divisions.”  The performances will see Wonderbound performing to songs taken from Flobots’ new album at three locations across Flobots’ home state of Colorado.

More information on NOENEMIES is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news, tour dates and more at:










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‘Moana’ Makes For An Enjoyable Occasional Watch

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios has gone to great lengths in recent years to attract young female audiences looking for something other than the standard damsel in distress stories.  New strong female leads such as Princess Elena (Elena of Avalor), Merida (Brave) and Elsa and Anna (Frozen) have proven those efforts have paid off.  The company’s take on Rapunzel (Tangled) could be argued either way.  Late last year, the House of Mouse brought its young female audiences another strong female role model in the form of Moana.  The Polynesian teen’s coming-of-age story proved to be a rousing success for Disney in terms of sales.  Now available on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, the movie has proven to be just as much of a financial boon for the company.  As successful as it has performed, this latest teen-centric tale of self-realization and friendship is, in reality, not Disney’s best.  It is not a total loss, though.  That should be emphasized here.  That is due in part to its dual-pronged story.  That will be discussed shortly.  The story’s pacing does take away from the story, bogging it down more than once.  The movie’s bonus material should also be noted in examining its overall presentation.  That will be discussed at more length later, too.  Each element plays its own part in Moana’s overall presentation.  They show that while it is anything but Disney’s best, it is also not the studio’s worst effort either.  It is worth at least an occasional watch.

Walt Disney Studios’ latest animated adventure Moana is hardly the famed studio’s finest work.  To be fair, it is also not the company’s worst effort.  It is worth at least an occasional watch.  That is due in part to the movie’s dual-pronged story.  The most obvious of those two prongs is Moana’s own coming-of-age story.  After being told by her father not to go beyond the reef, she decides (on the advice of her grandmother) that she should make her own decision.  This leads her to strike out on her own adventure in an effort to save her island and its surrounding islands.  This story of self-actualization generates, in itself secondary messages about finding one’s own way in life, not being afraid to take chances, and so many other messages.  The movie’s writing staff is to be commended for the way in which they incorporated those messages into the central story without allowing them to overpower the script’s central story.  They are to be commended just as much for the balance of that central story with the secondary story of Maui’s turn from villain to hero.

The secondary story of Maui’s turn from villain to hero is just as commonplace in the cinematic realm as Moana’s coming-of-age tale.  As the pair journeys to return the heart of Taffiti Moana eventually leads Maui to realize the error of his ways, leading him to make a tough decision about himself and about personal sacrifice, leading him to atone for his past wrongs and become a hero.  It is, in its own right, its own coming-of-age story, just more in the avenue of self-actualization.  This story of personal growth is just as commonplace in the cinematic realm as Moana’s coming-of-age tale.  Yet somehow the script’s writing team was able to make both stories work.  That ability to make both stories so entertaining makes the movie’s writing team deserving of its share of applause.  At the same time though, that applause cannot be too loud.  That is due to the problem raised through the story’s pacing.

Moana’s writers are to be commended for joining two common-place cinematic stories and somehow balancing them.  They are to be commended, too for somehow taking at least a somewhat original approach to the all-too-familiar stories.  While the writers are to be commended for the efforts taken to make those stories work collectively and alone, they cannot be applauded too loudly.  That is because their efforts also led to a pacing problem that clearly bogs down the movie.  That pacing issue is evident early on as Moana is given the heart, only to lose it when she is caught by her father.  The problem here is that it meant the story had to take a lot of unnecessary time building up to Moana getting the heart back from a somewhat expected source all while she is growing up and finding her way all before she even embarks on her epic journey.  Once Moana finally gets her voyage, things pick back up a little, only to get bogged down again as she and Maui get randomly attacked by a bunch of mutant-type living coconut pirates.  Yes, mutant-type, living coconut pirates.  Sounds like the premise for a really bad 1950s B-sci-fi flick, right?  Once they escape the creatures’ (which conjure thoughts of the goombas from the Mario Brothers video game franchise) clutches, the story does pick up again, only to be bogged down yet again later as Maui (at least temporarily) deserts Moana—not to give away too much—before things pick up again in the story’s final act.  Considering the constant back and forth of the story’s pacing, keeping audiences engaged in the nearly two-hour movie is not easy.  That could potentially chalked up to the fact that it seems like the writers just threw together elements of past Disney offerings such as Aladdin, Hercules, and so many others and hoped they would make this story work.  They made the story’s dual-pronged approach work.  But they clearly caused problems in the story’s pacing.

The pacing of Moana’s dual-pronged story is a problem that cannot be ignored in examining the movie’s overall presentation.  The constant back and forth of the movie’s pacing makes maintaining audiences’ engagement (especially younger audiences) problematic.  Luckily, the efforts of the movie’s writing team to balance the stories and somehow make them at least somewhat original makes enduring the pacing problems easier.  Another element that makes up (at least somewhat) for the movie’s pacing is the bonus material included in the movie’s home release.  The movie’s key bonus feature is the documentary “Voices of the Islands.”  The roughly half-hour program takes viewers along with the movie’s heads to the South Pacific as they studied the Polynesian people and their culture ahead of the movie’s creation.  Audiences will be surprised to see how much of the region’s culture—from the importance of family and community to the importance of the coconut to even something as minor as the people’s hair style—plays directly into the movie in this program.  All of these discussions exhibit just how much time and work went into making the movie believable and that it properly paid tribute to the people on which it is centered.  It creates a new respect for the work put in to bring the story to life and is yet another example of how bonus features can make an otherwise forgettable flick more memorable and not the last.  The bonus ‘Gone Fishin’’ short that features Moana and Maui adds its own enjoyment to the movie’s overall presentation.  When the movie’s bonus material and its story are coupled together, they make the one negative of the movie’s pacing bearable.  The end result is a viewing experience that audiences of all ages will enjoy even with just the occasional watch.

Walt Disney Studios’ new animated movie Moana is not the studio’s best effort, nor is it the company’s worst offering.  It is a movie that is worth at least an occasional watch.  That is due in part to the balance in the movie’s dual-pronged story.  The story’s pacing is problematic.  There is no denying that, but luckily it is not so problematic that it makes the movie unwatchable.  The bonus material that is included in the movie’s home release gives audiences even more reason to give it a chance; especially the movie’s companion 30-minute “Voices of the Islands” documentary.  That bonus documentary, when coupled with the movie’s balanced two-part story, the two elements do plenty to make up for the movie’s pacing problems.  That combination makes the movie worth watching at least once in a while.  More information on Moana is available online now at:












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